27 January 2017

On The Metro: Wuhan Metro, Line 2

I'm not one for the bus, wherever there is a metro I am underground before you could say 'Mind The Gap!' After living in Wuhan, China for sometime now I have seen the steady growth of its metro system. From Optics Valley Square to Jiyuqiao, I'm going to explore Line 2 of the Wuhan Metro before it crosses the Yangtze River to Hankou. Have some manners Wuhan!

I am blessed to live moments away from Optics Valley Square station, its the current southern terminus for Wuhan Metro's Line 2. Fashioned with Cherry Blossom Pink its a firm favourite of mine, connecting Guanggu to Tianhe International Airport it wasn't always easy to get from Optics Valley to Wuhan's own airport! Enough of that business I'm ready to look back to see what delights through Hongshan and Wuchang can be found along Line 2 before crossing over the Yangtze River branch of the line to Hankou and the airport. Optics Valley Square is surely running way past its capacity, to navigate this station sincerely takes patience and the willpower not to kick off, the way people walk through the station it's like the shepherd's gone on holiday and he's never coming back! Optics Valley Square station unlocked the key for me, I wouldn't of seen as much without the metro! Guanggu Square, don't let me lose it! Let's go!

Aside from the insane rate of construction Optics Valley Square is seeing right now I know it will unveil something spectacular, its just the herding of commuters that's the problem! Living within my prime Guanggu location it only takes me around eight minutes from my building to Exit C of Optics Valley Square Station, it's not bad at all! Shopping in Guanggu is endless for the Chinese audience, I prefer to get off the Metro and get home as fast as possible! Sunday is not a day of rest at Optics Valley Square station, no it has to be the busiest day judging by the consistent seas of people bumbling they way to the Wuhan Metro! A Southern extension is being built as we speak, so far its making my bus commute to work a nightmare as the construction has overtaken Luoyu East Road and Jiayuan Road! All in the name of progress for Optics Valley. Getting away is easy because of this terminus station, I might complain but its very convenient for me. No, where's my Wuhan Tong!?

Yangjiawan and Huquan stations follow Optics Valley Square station, I rarely get off at those stations unless I don't get an electric bike to my friend Elli's community as she lives near Huquan station. Computown and the China Central Normal University can be found at Guangbutun, I tried to get my phone screened replaced at Computown, it was maze of wires and electric repair shops! Trying a secret bar was also another reason that Guangbutun station was my destination. Further into Wuchang District lies Jiedaokou Station, home to many bars and shopping, its a popular Wuhan hangout but I now rarely get off there. Since I started using Line 2 of the Wuhan Metro I have been able to see parts of Hongshan Distrct within this side of the line, these place are not touristy at all so they inhabit a certain concrete charm. With Baotong Temple station approaching, I do feel a certain connection to that stop. 

It should be a dead giveaway what can be found at Baotong Temple station?! Yes, one of Wuhan's legendary Buddhist temples can be found a few steps away from Exits C2 and D. Baotong Temple has to be one of my favourite Wuhan temples along with the Gude Temple of Hankou, I love living six stops away from Optics Valley Square to Baotong Temple! I cannot get over the stillness of the temple even though its only a stones through from the Wuhan Metro it helps people get their spiritual fix, then get back underground on the metro. One stop away heading towards Tianhe Airport is Zhongnan Road, a true of sight of crazy with umpteenth amounts of skyscrapers that almost touch the clouds! I will always have a close connection between the areas around Baotong Temple and Zhongnan Road stations, but that's a secret! I find myself at Zhongnan Road station when I change onto Line 4 to either Han Street or Wuhan Railway Station, sometimes I have to take care of some business!

Staying on the metro between Zhongnan Road and Pangxiejia stations I don't have a clue about Hongshan Square or Xiaoguishan but I'm not going to loose any sleep over that! Finding coffee and cake along Tanhualin I took a chance on my 25th birthday to surface from Line 2 at Pangxiejia station, I didn't really know where I was going at first until I saw a brown tourist sign. Taken into a labyrinth of coffeeshops and small hipster-like bars I loved the feel of Tanhualin even thought the Trip Advisor reviews had been less than complimentary! Stopping off at Merci I got my coffee and cake fix, I would definitely return. Done with my sweet treat I took a stroll away from that cute Wuhan street to find a gritty market street, not short of smells and sights that would put a westerner off their food for a month but it gave me life, I live for pieces of Realness. From Hongshan to Wuchang, its true Line 2 covers so much! 

Before passing under the Yangtze River to the Hankou section of Line 2, the last stop before the water is Jiyuqiao station. During my first year teaching I went to a few pre-drinks close to Jiyuqiao, those apartments were close to the station, giving a perfect distance to Guanggu in one direction and over the water to Hankou in the other direction but I'll always be rooting for Optics Valley Square! Taking in the crazy at Optics Valley Square station I have lost my cool more times than I could count, shepherd you've got one hell of a flock to guide! Baotong Temple gave me some calm and connected me to a special one, there's just something about that place! Well, as of the 28th of December 2016 the northern extension from Jinyintan to Tianhe International Airport will make my Spring Festival flight out to Harbin seamless from my end. Line 2's truly a monster I couldn't find the space for all of the stations in one post! The Wuhan Metro gets me about a lot! Keep on growing! 

Going Underground! 

Joseph Harrison 

No comments: